A Message For People Who Fear Being Alone

We all have issues. Some people feel that they are not worth much of anything, or feel that the world is not on their side. Other people worry about their physical appearance, or what others think about them. There are people who always have to be right even when they know they are wrong, and then there are others who can’t help feeling envious of those who have what they do not.

These are just some of the many issues that influence our lives, and they are very complex, but, nevertheless, our deepest issues always seem to stem from one life experience that has had a particularly traumatic emotional impact, and more often than not, that traumatic life experience usually seems to come from our childhood. I would even go so far as to say, based on the conversations I have had in my life, that our biggest issues can most often even be linked back to our parents.

My biggest issue, for example, was a fear of being alone, and I have self-diagnosed this as coming from the fact that my dad left my mom before I was born, and chose to have nothing to do with me. In other words, he abandoned me, which left me with a deep need to be wanted.

During my teenage years and early twenties, I got that attention from being the center of my social scene and chasing the ladies, but at some point I of course realised that ultimately you are still left feeling alone.

I hadn’t worked out yet that real happiness comes from within, so I next found solace from a series of serious relationships. My mom named me a ‘serial monogamist’ after the ‘serial killer’ who repeatedly moves from one highly destructive experience to another.

I was always faithful and highly committed in these relationships, but the formula was all wrong. I was getting involved because she was attractive and interested in me and that made me feel good about myself. Furthermore, she was also lacking on some deep level in her own confidence, which meant that she would want me to be there for her, and turn to me to feel more secure.

Ultimately in such a relationship when both of you are so unconfident with who you really are or what you really want, you start to defend what you do know. You first start to force your opinions on the other person, and then, before long, you are both trying to change each other. This causes a lot of pain and heart ache.

Eventually I repeated this pattern one time too many, and after another nasty painful break up, I made a conscious decision that I will never repeat this destructive experience again – ever!

I had already been reading up on spirituality for a long time by this point, and understood completely that my pain was coming from looking for something external to make me happy.

Spirituality teaches us that we must first take time to be alone in order to discover our Self (who we are) before we can be of any use to anyone else, so when I decided to actually take the plunge and live by the teachings of spirituality to see what actually happens, it was with a very profound purpose to first and foremost be completely on my own for a while.

Katharina and I met in Santa Marta while I was travelling the north Caribbean coast of Colombia and connected instantly. You know the situation – when you meet someone and it feels like you have always known each other. By the time we said our ‘good byes’, a brief romance had already developed.

Now we were Skyping that we could choose to spend some more time together before continuing in separate directions if we wanted. It was I who originally suggested it, and it came from a real desire to spend some quality time with Katharina while we still had the opportunity, but at the same time it opened up an internal can of worms, and suddenly I was not a happy bunny at all!

I felt intensely conflicted by my own suggestion. I was thinking to myself that this is what I always do. I choose to be with a girl instead of being on my own – always with devastating results!

Katharina tried to console me by explaining that we will get to know each other much better, and in the end walk away as friends, or as much more, but nothing really bad can happen.

I knew from past experience that she was wrong. It can go very badly indeed. We could fight and blame and shout and cause pain, and I’m not going to go through that again!

I messaged Katharina that it was not worth the risk.

But as I calmed down, and my internal panic subsided, I was able to listen more closely to my intuition, rather than to my mind going through past experience overload.

Whereas in the past, my intuition would tell me that getting further involved with this girl is not a good idea, my head would be saying that nothing bad can really happen so just go for it. My head was always wrong!

Now my head was telling me that it is madness to hang out with this girl more, whilst it was my intuitive spirit telling me that nothing will go wrong. This time the messages were the other way round, and what was changing my mind was my Self!

We went together to Guachalito, one of the paradise beaches that are only accessible by boat across the ocean from Nuqui. Here, my positive bubble was fully inflated, and I was fully in my element surrounded by wonderful nature! – waterfalls, huge rocks, jungle, sand, sea, and camping, and amazing company. The perfect situation to be romantic together!

We had a really unforgettable time, and we still keep in touch today, but I did go back to travelling alone and headed south to Ecuador, while Katharina made a brief trip to Nicaragua before heading home to Germany.

Choosing to be alone is a really tough thing to do. It takes real inner strength! For when you are completely alone without anything external to distract your attention, all you are left with is your Self and all of your fears.

But it is such an important and healthy exercise to get to know who we are and what makes us tick. Unfortunately most of us rush from one external distraction to the next without taking some quality time to get to know our Self first.

One day while I was sitting with Katharina on the beach in Guachalito, I finished the book 1984 by George Orwell; he concludes that we human beings are doomed because everyone has a fear that is so great that they would rather give up love than face that fear.

I faced that fear. Became friends with it. Years later and I now love being alone, and I found my soul mate.

It can be done. I proved George Orwell wrong.

——

Article by Wake Up World Education founder, Robito Chatwin.

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Solutions Journalism: Could This Be The Mainstream Narrative We Need?

This article explores solutions journalism (also known as constructive journalism), which is a global response to the negativity bias found in the mainstream media today. The article demonstrates that the solutions narrative goes beyond journalism, and can be used as a tool by anyone to improve health and happiness.

The Background

Solutions journalism is a response to the “compassion fatigue” (or public apathy) caused by the “increasing tabloidization, sensationalism and negativity bias” presented in the mainstream media.

This bias in the media perpetuates a mainstream narrative which scientific research clearly shows has an incredibly detrimental effect on our personal and global wellness.

In the USA, the Solutions Journalism Network carries out research, while in Europe, solutions journalism is emerging under the name constructive journalism.

Dr. Karen McIntyre, Assistant Professor of Journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University, explains in a 2018 Journalism Practice article that constructive journalism “involves applying positive psychology techniques to the news process in an effort to strengthen the field and facilitate productive news stories.”

These stories seek to rebalance reality by providing readers with critical reporting on society’s problems but also explaining how individuals, institutions, and communities are solving these problems.

The question is: Does this narrative actually work?

The Research

A 2017 study compared responses of 242 participants, ranging from 19 to 63 years old, to a shock media news article and solutions-focused news article on sex trafficking. Results showed that solution-focused news stories leave readers feeling more positive.

In another 2017 study, college students read one of three versions of an article concerning on-campus graffiti or rising tuition costs. The study found students who read a story with an effective solution felt more positive and had more favorable attitudes towards the news article and solutions to the problem.

The Center for Media Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin published a 2014 study in which a sample of 755 US adults was presented with a news article reporting on traumatic experiences in American schools, homelessness or a lack of clothing among poor people.

Results showed that in addition to feeling more optimistic, participants who read a solutions-focused article felt more informed and had a greater desire to share what they had read, read more about the issue and seek out more articles by news organizations covering stories in a solutions-focused manner.

In a 2016 study, a sample of 834 US adults saw one of two online news articles, both reporting on the struggles of the working poor. The experiment showed that adults who read the solutions-focused article spent more time reading the article, left the website more frequently to learn more, and demonstrated greater optimism and self-efficacy (belief in one’s own ability).

A 2005 study that analyzed medical data over a 2-year period from 1041 patient records from a multi-specialty medical practice concluded that higher levels of hope and curiosity decreased likelihood of developing a disease, and a 2001 study found that positive emotion now increases longevity in later life.

Barbara Fredrickson, award-winning social psychologist and Director of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory at The University of Carolina at Chapel Hill, published an article in 2011 that posits that positive emotions may even “undo the aftereffects of negative emotions.”

It seems they broaden an individual’s thought–action repertoire, which in turn has the effect of building that individual’s physical, intellectual and social resources, including broadening one’s scope of cognition, attention and action; thus increasing one’s ability to not only maintain but to keep increasing positivity in all areas of life.

A 2016 study that surveyed 1318 newspaper journalists in the USA found that younger journalists and female journalists are especially interested in “contextual reporting,” focusing on constructive journalism, solutions journalism, and restorative narrative, or “stories that go beyond the immediacy of the news and contribute to societal well-being.”

The Takeaway

Extensive research in neuroplasticity over the last few decades shows that our brain formation is not fixed but rather plastic (changeable), and recent research shows that repeated positive environmental and emotional stimulation enhances cognitive function while “simultaneously enhancing vigorous longevity, health, happiness, and wellness.”

The science is clear. Focusing on solutions enhances our mood, outlook, self-efficacy, curiosity and desire to explore and share and learn more about the solutions-focused narrative, which further increases our positive emotions, broadening cognition, attention, action, and longevity in later life.

This is neuroplasticity. Since the mainstream narrative educates us to view the world through negativity bias, we unwittingly see reality through the lens of problems, conflict, prejudicial categorization of others, and fear.

The constructive narrative literally re-educates our brains to view the world through the lens of solutions, cooperation, acceptance of others and love – a different reality and new positive way of thinking about the world which anyone can choose to strengthen.

Thus, the remedy to the barrage of negativity presented in the mainstream media is to accept that it is just a chosen view of reality and not actually real.

The solution that promotes wellness then is to stop reading and watching the mainstream media, and instead commit to not only reading but also thinking about and viewing the world ourselves through the lens of solutions.

Whatever happens next, this movement is just another sign that the global, solutions-focused movement and humanity’s conscious, collective evolution is most definitely underway.

——

Article by Wake Up World Education founder, Robito Chatwin.

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Extinction Rebellion: What Can We Take From Their 3 Areas of Focus?

Have you heard about the biggest grassroots rebellion against the broken economic system, decaying democracy and exploitative mainstream media since Occupy Wall Street?

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is an eco-activist movement founded in the UK by molecular biophysicist Dr. Gail Bradbrook, along with environmental activist Roger Hallamwho studied a PhD in civil disobedience at King’s College London.

Galvanizing supporters at the 49th Glastonbury festival, Dr Gail Bradbrook explained:

“[Extinction Rebellion] is not a protest. It is not a campaign. It is a rebellion. We are in active rebellion against our government. The social contract is broken, the governments aren’t protecting us and it’s down to us now.”

On Monday 7th October 2019, more than 50,000 environmentalists “devoted to disruptive, non-violent civil disobedience in protest against ecological collapse” descended on London to shut the city center down, and the movement is global.

XR groups in more than 60 major cities around the world released their plans to peacefully occupy key locations in their cities, including Madrid, Amsterdam, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Rome, Prague, Bratislava, Dublin, Budapest, and many many more.

They are aiming for eventual critical mass in all countries, which XR points out is “the involvement of 3.5% of the population to succeed – in the UK that’s about 2 million people” based on the research by Erica Chenoweth.

The Background

The movement began on 31st October 2018 when 1,500 XR supporters assembled on Parliament Square in London to announce a Declaration of Rebellion against the UK Government.

Over the next few weeks, 6,000 converged on London to peacefully block five major bridges across the Thames, planting trees in the middle of Parliament Square, and digging a hole to bury a coffin representing humanity’s future.

On their website it continues:

“Our actions generated huge national and international publicity and, as news spread, our ideas connected with tens of thousands of people around the world.”

On 15th April 2019, XR’s International Rebellion was launched in over 80 cities across at least 33 countries with organized protests blocking roads all across London.

The Guardian reported that those arrested would be prosecuted, and linked XR’s comment “We are asking the police and legal system to concentrate on issues such as knife crime, and not non-violent protesters who are trying to save our planet” with “Stop bothering us non-violent protesters; focus instead on those frightening inner-city neighbourhoods, where black children carry knives,” attempting to plant seeds that XR are racist.

The Media

Members of XR have been described as ecomaniacs (Daily Mail), ecoradicals ignoring our economic doom (Times), dangerousa bloody mess (Telegraph), and costing Scotland Yard £16m (Daily Mail).

XR received much more newspaper coverage the weekend before the launch of October rebellion, with the campaign promising disruption to emergency care (Telegraph) thanks to the “eco zealots’ blueprint for mayhem” – an article the Daily Mail originally and baselessly called: “Extinction Rebellion ‘will stop the Queen’s Speech’ as it reveals its battle plan to stop London.”

The Daily Mail even gloated “At Last!” as Police took preemptive action and raided a warehouse, arresting ten people and confiscating XR equipment.

XR quickly responded that “this is not a surprise” and “we already have all we need,” citing Richard Ecclestone, one of many former police officers who have joined XR:

“These tactics are very questionable and are arguably infringing on our rights to peaceful protest,” Ecclestone argues, and the UK Shadow Minister of State for Policing, Louise Haigh, agrees.

The Strategy

The mainstream media, of course, ignores the cause of the protests (the fear of ecological collapse due to a politically corrupt system), and instead focuses on demonizing XR, but the fact that XR are receiving so much negative press, rather than being ignored, means that someone high up is concerned about what this movement could potentially mean.

What makes XR different from other climate change movements is that this movement has a clear focus on the problems and the solutions they require.

On the XR website, 3 areas are identified as the “symptoms of this toxic system”:

  • A debt- and interest-based, deregulated finance sector.
  • A fake and decaying democracy.
  • A media captured to the interests of exploitative rich people and corporations.

XR identify 3 key areas that need to change in order “to create a world fit for the next seven generations to live in”:

  • A democracy where people have real agency in decision making by devolving power to the level closest to people and communities.
  • An economy designed to maximize well-being for all people and minimize harm to each other, our fellow creatures and our home planet.
  • Creating a healthy, resilient and adaptable regenerative culture that can “heal and improve .. on all levels, including individuals, communities, our soil, water and air.”

The Bill For Parliament

XR working groups around the UK, in consultation with the campaign group Power for People, drafted a bill for the UK parliament (a proposal to significantly change current law).

The Bill demands that the UK Prime Minister declare a climate and ecological emergency, and establishes a citizens assembly.

500 to 1000 people should be randomly selected from across the country, and the process must be designed to ensure that the Assembly reflects the UK “in terms of characteristics such as gender, age, ethnicity, education level and geography.”

The Spiritual Calling

The organizers of the movement also clearly have an understanding of spirituality, ideas like self-discovery and self-improvement.

XR emphasize “ongoing questioning, reflection and learning” and getting out of our comfort zones because “We have a duty to disobey this system which destroys life on earth and is deeply unjust.”

XR refer to indigenous cultures as inspiration, stating XR “is a rebellion against the heartless, loveless and lifeless delusion of seeing Earth as dead matter,” instead seeing humanity as “earth-guardians” and “nature defending itself.”

XR state they are beyond activism alone and always seeking new ways to support positive change, which may include “ceremony and prayer (in ways that are neither dogmatic nor expected) as formats to find inspiration from things bigger than ourselves.”

“We are about political change,” they continue, “not personal change (though we welcome the latter).”

The Takeaway

This movement may not have all the facts concerning climate change covered here at CE, but it is the first globally organized movement to connect a broken economic system with the need for higher spiritual values like their vision of “a new world of love, respect and regeneration.”

It seems that XR have potential beyond that of Occupy Wall Street to raise a global movement, mainly because they have a clear focus on serious deep rooted problems and, more importantly, a clear strategy for positive change.

Furthermore, the reaction in the media demonstrates that it is causing concern among those wishing to keep GDP going and business running as usual.

Of course, those in power are never going to devolve it freely, but this shift in consciousness as people marry social activism with purpose and spirituality will only continue to evolve.

It has many names, such as The Great Turning, The Great Awakening, Conscious Evolution and Sacred Activism, and in a recent podcast with Russell Brand, XR founder Dr. Gail Bradbrook confirms this shift in consciousness in scientific terms, called Spiral Dynamics.

Whatever happens next, this latest example is just another sign that the global, solutions-focused movement and humanity’s conscious, collective evolution is most definitely underway.

——

Article by Wake Up World Education founder, Robito Chatwin.

WUWE explores today’s personal and global problems (criticality) & today’s solutions to these problems (wellness), and is taking Wellness Training global (blog).

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How Yahoo Hacked 3 Billion User Accounts & Caused A Global Health Hazard

The cyber attacks on Yahoo occurred back in 2013 and 2014, but Yahoo first informed the public of these attacks in 2016 and 2017. All of their 3 billion users were affected, some of whom on two occasions, but in between these announcements, another revelation occurred. Incoming emails from all 3 billion Yahoo users’ accounts were also systematically scanned by the U.S. government in 2015. This time with Yahoo’s cooperation.

According to the World Health Organization:

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

The potential stress Yahoo may have caused by any number of their 3 billion users around the world, as well as any number of non-Yahoo users who sent emails to Yahoo users, makes them a global public health hazard, but the mainstream narrative focused on Verizon consequently paying less to buy Yahoo, and CEO Marissa Mayer having to forfeit her annual bonus and stock award.

Yahoo announces the largest user data breach in history

Sept 2016 and Yahoo announced that “at least 500 million user accounts” had been hacked in 2014. Having retrieved names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, passwords and security questions and answers, it was hailed by the media as one of the largest cybersecurity breaches of all time. The company said they believed a “state-sponsored actor” was behind the data breach, meaning an individual acting on behalf of a foreign government.

Yahoo collaborates with U.S. government to spy on user emails

October 2016 and Reuters revealed that Yahoo users once again were having their emails accessed without their knowledge. This time by the U.S. government. The FBI and the National Security Agency (NSA) approached Yahoo to build a custom software program to read all of their users’ incoming emails. The program was in operation by May 2015 and was designed to search for a specific string or digital ‘signature’. This could be a phrase in an email or an attachment. When that ‘signature’ was found, that email or attachment was then copied and sent to the relevant U.S. intelligence agency server.

The program spied on every person who emailed a Yahoo! Mail account, implying every Yahoo! Mail user is guilty and violating the privacy of people around the world. Both Reuters and The New York Times stated that this is the first known case of a U.S. internet company agreeing to the systemic scanning of all arriving messages and real-time data collection at an intelligence agency’s request, as well as the first known time that a new program was created to do so.

Yahoo did not need to cooperate

The NSA and FBI used FISA to justify the global top-secret mass surveillance programs tracking foreign nationals and U.S. citizens revealed by Edward Snowdon in 2013; yet these programs remain unconstitutional – which means illegal. FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, can allow the secret national security court to issue an edict, but a specific target should be identified, and section 702 of FISA exclusively applies to agents of a foreign power located outside the USA.

“This is another example of how the government is pushing secretly novel or innovative interpretations of surveillance law” to conduct wiretapping in broader ways than the public realize, said Jennifer Granick, the director of civil liberties at the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society.

“It is deeply disappointing that Yahoo declined to challenge this sweeping surveillance order, because customers are counting on technology companies to stand up to novel spying demands in court” Patrick Toomey, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.

Yahoo announces the (2nd) largest user data breach in history

Two months later, in December 2016, Yahoo announced they had discovered another major cyberattack had taken place in 2013. The Guardian explained that this second “state-sponsored” attack had affected more than 1 billion user accounts, making this one the “biggest data breach in history.”

Yahoo announces the (3rd) largest user data breach in history

October 2017 and Yahoo revealed that every one of their 3 billion accounts had been affected by the 2013 data theft, making this new number “the largest breach in history.”

This means that every Yahoo user’s account information was retrieved, and that means all of their services could have been accessed, including Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Groups, Flickr and Tumblr.

Although Yahoo claims neither of these attacks breached the system where user payment card and bank account details are stored, any private details found in every Yahoo user’s personal emails could have been collected.

“For years I have been urging friends and family to migrate off of Yahoo email, mainly because I watched for years as the company appeared to fall far behind its peers in blocking spam and other email-based attacks” states security researcher Brian Krebs.

Yahoo is responsible for jeopardizing their own users’ safety

March 2017 and Yahoo! disclosed the results of an internal investigation which found that CEO Marissa Mayer had reacted too slowly, other executives had “failed to act sufficiently” and the companies legal department had also been negligent. It was revealed that the company’s security team had identified that a hacker had accessed at least 500 million user accounts back in 2014, yet Yahoo chose to notify only 26 users.

In October 2017, when Yahoo announced that all 3 billion of their users were hacked in 2013, the company said they will begin alerting accounts. They also stated that “in connection with Yahoo’s December 2016 announcement of the August 2013 theft, Yahoo took action to protect all accounts. The action that they took was to ask 1 billion of 3 billion affected users to change their passwords. This does not protect users from being hacked. All users had passwords before.

The Takeaway

The revelation that all 3 billion Yahoo users had been hacked by an alleged “state-sponsor actor” caused media outrage, two FBI investigations, and some 43 consumer class-action lawsuits against the company. The revelation that all 3 billion Yahoo users’ emails have also been unknowingly scanned systemically by the U.S. government warrants a similar reaction.

Yahoo’s cooperation was not necessary. The company could have contested the request to create a custom software program to spy on their own customers in court. Instead, Yahoo users were not only spied on in 2013 and 2014, but again in 2015, and all of their users were not informed until 2017, leaving the safety of millions then billions of users at jeopardy.

In 2018, Yahoo still state in their Privacy Policy that “Once you register with Yahoo and sign in to our services, you are no longer anonymous.”The only way any big email service like Yahoo! Mail, Gmail or Apple Mail can successfully protect your personal data and online privacy as an internet user is by encryption as standard.

The only reason big companies do not want to do this is because they want to have access to your personal information. The solution is simple. Choose a different narrative to the ongoing infiltration of your personal and private information.

Cybersecurity is available to everyone, and it starts with a simple-to-use encrypted email account elsewhere, such as Tutanota or Protonmail.

Article by Wake Up World Education founder, Robito Chatwin.

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